Botswana’s ancestral gathering lands are packed with mystique. Narratives are written in desolate landscapes, near extinct traditions survive in the bush, and 30,000 years of history await your arrival. This very rare experience offers a genuine and non-obtrusive immersion into the life of Zu/‘Hoasi Bushmen. Be welcomed by the elders and spend four intimate days in a fascinating traditional community. Then complete the trip with three days of spectacular big cat safari.
Makgadikgadi Pans – Meeting the Elders
Most western cultures have fully acclimatized to the idea of strangers. You see them in your home town every day, on the commute, in the shop and beside the road. But imagine living in a place where spotting another person came as a surprise. You will fly into a remote airstrip then drive along rugged dusty trails to a tiny campsite that’s deep in traditional Zu/‘hoasi Bushmen territory. These people have a 30,000-year-old history and their ancestral lands are rarely visited by foreigners. This itinerary is designed to offer non-intrusive and authentic interaction. So you can’t just wander into the settlement waving hello and shaking hands with everyone. It’s up to the elders to invite you and greet you in the traditional manner.
Your campsite is located adjacent to the settlement, close enough to be immersed in their culture, yet far enough away to be discreet. Inviting a non-tribe member to actually sleep in their huts would have huge significance, hence the need to keep a respectful distance. And settlement is perhaps an overstatement of its size. This is just a cluster of family huts. Your camp is comfortable and traditional, with proper beds, private bucket showers, and bush toilets. A thatched shelter of wild grass arches over the tent, providing both shade and a cooling breeze.
As a fire crackles the barefooted elders come to greet you. They walk slowly and elegantly, animal skin wrapped around their shoulders and fur covering their loins. As you sit around the flames the elders narrate an evocative history lesson, tracing the origins and challenges of one of the world’s oldest ethnic groups. Don’t just listen. Ask questions, tell your story, and slowly build a bond with the elders. Certain Bushmen traditions can seem bizarre when viewed from a Western perspective. Yet as you begin to appreciate their lifestyle a lot of things begin to make sense. Some of their ways of living seem like an idyllic ideology for your own culture. These tribes must be some of the only people in the world that follow a true democracy. However, tonight you’ll also learn about the complex political challenges Bushmen tribes are facing in modern Botswana.
Makgadikgadi Pans – Spending Time with the Women of the Tribe
Makgadikgadi Pans – Immersed in the Life of the Bushmen
Makgadikgadi Pans – Traditional Hunter-Gathering with the Tribe
Central Kalahari – First Glimpses of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve
Day 6 - 7
Central Kalahari – Spectacular Safari in the Kalahari
Maun – Fond Farewell to Botswana
- Spend three days on a big game safari in the abundant Central Kalahari Game Reserve, a place that teems with big cats and dramatic scenes
- Spend four days with a remote Zu/‘Hoasi Bushman tribe that live on ancestral gathering lands in the Western Kalahari
- Be traditionally welcomed into the community by the elders, and hear an evocative narrative on the tribe’s history
- Gain a fascinating insight into the Bushmen’s ancient lifestyle by spending days with the women, men, and elders, of the settlement
- Be guided through the bush and learn about the use of each plant and herd, then select a rhygozum plant to create your own digging stick
- Track and stalk animals across the Kalahari by going on a hunter-gatherer day with the men of the tribe
- Enjoy a genuinely non-obtrusive yet intimate experience, and discover a fascinating way of life that is almost extinct
As modern society begins to encompass the whole globe, ancient ways of life are sadly becoming extinct. Zu/‘Hoasi bushmen have a history and culture that date back 30,000 years, and little has ever changed. Elders still dress in animal skin and fur, women continue to roast beetles on the fire, and the thatched grass huts have been perfected over generations. This is a genuine and very rare opportunity to spend time with a tribe that couldn’t be any more different than the West. The itinerary has been carefully designed to be non-obtrusive and non-patronizing, yet still provide an intimate and indelible experience. You can’t just wander into the settlement and start saying hello. Village elders welcome you in the traditional manner, and you sit around the crackling fire to hear fascinating narratives with a historical and personal slant. You sleep in a small camp that’s adjacent to the settlement, ensuring there is a respectful distance.
Each day offers interaction and exploration with different members of the tribe, before everyone sits around a crackling evening fire. Be guided through the bush and discover the uses for over 200 plants, including the rhygozum plant from which you will make a digging tool, something that’s as essential to Bushmen as shoes are to you. Learn to cook and make jewelry with the women, create traditional hunting implements with the men, and spend a whole day tracking and stalking an evening meal. Bushmen are naturally reserved and laconic, so don’t expect easy spoken communication. However, they’re experts at show and tell, and elaborately use gestures to demonstrate and teach about their culture. Touching moments are shared with many members of the community and you are encouraged to soak up the experience in all its tenderness and ruggedness. This is not a brief and sometimes patronizing visit to a Bushmen community. Staying for four days offers a deep immersion into their way of life.
Following the Bushmen experience you get up close and personal with some more of Botswana’s indelible residents. Lion prides and solitary leopards dominate the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, roaming across an evocative land and preying on an assortment of ungulates. They’re joined by wild dogs and cheetahs, the abundant landscape providing daily dramas as predators and prey fight for survival. Fly into a remote airstrip and lose yourself in a very different African world, one where giraffes wander past your luxury camp and lion roars provide a night-time soundtrack. Combining Bushmen and big cats, this itinerary takes you deep into a very traditional and unchanged version of Africa, one that’s inspiring and thought-provoking in equal measure.
$6,235 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
Reviews of Zicasso's Referral Service
4.93 stars based on
Reviewed By Richard R.
Reviewed By Norman H.
Reviewed By Alan M.
Reviewed By greg s.
Reviewed By Tracy G.
Reviewed By Melissa T.